New Study Shows That Fitness Trumps Fatness in Determining Risk of Cancer Death in Men

Friday, January 18, 2008 General News
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DALLAS, Jan. 17 The Cooper Institute, a research andeducation nonprofit located at the world-renowned Cooper Aerobics Center inDallas, announces a new study published in Obesity showing that fitness trumpsfatness in determining risk of cancer mortality among men. Cancer is thesecond leading cause of death among U.S. men. While tobacco use and poor dietremain the largest contributors to cancer mortality, for the first time thereis new research that obesity and low levels of cardiorespiratory fitnesscontributes to cancer mortality as well.

"This is the first study that shows that sedentary men of all body fatnesslevels should strive to become at least moderately fit in order to decreasethe risk of cancer mortality," said lead researcher and Director ofProfessional Education Stephen Farrell, Ph.D. "Due to research by The CooperInstitute, we've long known that fitness is more important than fatness indecreasing the risk of heart disease. Now we know the same is true about deathfrom all cancers among men. This is an important breakthrough to improve men'shealth."

Dr. Farrell studied 38,410 men who completed a comprehensive baselinephysical examination at Cooper Clinic in Dallas. Results showed a strong anddirect relationship between all measures of body fatness and cancer mortality.Leaner men had significantly lower rates of cancer mortality than fatter men,regardless of the method used to assess body fatness. A strong inverserelationship between cardiorespiratory fitness level and cancer mortality wasalso observed, showing lower fit men had significantly greater rates of cancermortality than higher fit men.

The examination included a maximal treadmill exercise test, which providesan objective measure of cardio-respiratory fitness level. A unique feature ofthe study was that different measures of body fatness including body massindex (BMI), percent body fat, and waist circumference were also performed.The men were followed for an average period of 17.2 years, during which 1,037cancer deaths occurred.

Another unique feature of the study was an examination of the cancermortality rates between fit and unfit men within various categories of thedifferent measures of adiposity or fat levels. Using the three officialcategories for BMI (normal weight, overweight, obese), fit men in eachcategory had significantly lower death rates from cancer than unfit men. Usingthe two official categories for waist circumference (obese and non-obese), fitmen in each category had significantly lower death rates from cancer thanunfit men. Similarly, using two categories for percent body fat (obese andnon-obese), fit men in each category also had significantly lower death ratesfrom cancer than unfit men.

Farrell added, "These data suggest that attaining a moderate to high levelof cardiorespiratory fitness may decrease some of the cancer mortality risksassociated with increased adiposity."

About The Cooper Institute

Founded in 1970 by Kenneth Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., The Cooper Institute is a501(c)(3) nonprofit research and education facility dedicated to preventivemedicine research and education. The Institute's research is often cited andhas affected public health policy. The Cooper Institute is also committed toeducating and certifying health and fitness professionals by offering over20 courses in Dallas or At Your Site and numerous fitness tools includingbooks and DVDs. The Cooper Institute Personal Trainer Certification Exam(CI-CPT) is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies(NCCA).

SOURCE The Cooper Institute

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